Even before the covid-19 pandemic, facial recognition was starting to weave its way into our daily lives. We accessed our mobile devices using our face, express identity platforms like Clear allowed us to move swiftly through airport checkpoints, hotels were looking into using faceID to end long lines at check in.
Now with the pandemic in full force, FaceID adoption in the hospitality industry may escalate as guests demand a touchless and frictionless journey from their home to their hotel room and beyond. Self service and contactless technology are coming into focus as hotels need to find ways to deliver the level of service they’re guests will expect pertaining to unnecessary staff, guest, and surface interaction.
Technology, naturally, becomes the key enabler of seamless and frictionless guest experiences in this new normal but only if hotels can:
These are all important prerequisites for the successful implementation of any new system, especially something completely novel to the industry as a whole such as Facial Recognition technology.
If contactless service is the new hospitality industry mantra for increased guest satisfaction, then hotels need to look into FaceID technology as one of the ways to secure their competitiveness in the changing market.
Facial recognition systems fall under the category of biometric technology and are used to verify personal identity by analyzing people’s facial features. These systems can compare a scanned image or a video frame with a database of known faces to find a match. This is called biometric authentication and there are numerous use cases for this technology in the hospitality industry.
What most hotels are probably familiar with are self service kiosks with FaceID technology that are used to quickly verify guest’s identity, pull up their reservations, check them in, authorize payments, and more.
One of the major focus areas for hotels going forward will be figuring out how to efficiently handle the influx of guests without compromising on safety. In the light of the increased customer demand for contactless service, FaceID technology becomes one of the best ways to automate various authentication processes across the guest journey.
The promise of FaceID technology for hotel guests lies in a more frictionless experience that eliminates the need for room keys, cards, or hotel apps. Hotels can use the technology to verify guest identity in order to streamline the check in process and grant them access to their room.
Facial recognition solutions like the one provided by avery power the guest onboarding process by enabling pre-check in with FaceID. This means that the guests can ‘enroll’ their face and their ID before coming to the hotel using their personal device so they can skip the line at the front desk and check-in at the FaceID kiosk.
Checking in at the kiosk is super fast and easy - a guest just scans their face and their ID to verify their identity and get their digital room key.
Hotels that are using identity kiosks are reporting reduced check-in times and increased guest satisfaction with the check in/check out process. This is also a signal to guests who are concerned about health risks associated with their stay that you automate the key touchpoints in their journey to provide additional comfort and a sense of security.
Facial recognition technology can make your guests’ lives a whole lot easier if used to authorize payments at your property. No cash, no credit cards, just a quick facial scan and they can pay for their food, amenities, activities, and accommodation. If you could confirm a payment just with the camera on your phone or at the FaceID kiosk, wouldn’t you find that much easier than using a card? Your guests certainly would.
This is another touchpoint that normally requires interaction with hotel employees and that guests can now easily manage on their own. For example, your guests could quickly make payments during their stay for things like food and beverage orders, in-room purchases, and they could use the FaceID kiosk to check out and pay for their stay.
Loyalty programs are another great use case of facial recognition technology in hotels. Using FaceID, you can onboard a guest into your loyalty program once and they can be recognized as a member at any of the hotels within the brand or hotel collection.
A FaceID system can identify member guests at the check in and activate their loyalty accounts. This drastically reduces the friction associated with loyalty program registration and use, not to mention the improved guest experience when their stay is tailored to their preferences and interests.
FaceID can also be used to recognize your VIP guests, and if the system is integrated with automated messaging, your staff can be alerted with details about the guest empowering them to provide a highly personalized service to your most important guests.
An individual’s biometric data is personal and sensitive and hotels that want to introduce facial recognition need to ensure data privacy for their guests. It’s only natural that some people have concerns about FaceID and how their biometric information will be collected, used, and stored.
Not everyone is happy to give more of their personal information away in exchange for more convenience. However, if you’re working with the right provider and have good data privacy practices in place, you can minimize those concerns.
When introducing a new technology like facial recognition, you’ll need to focus on transparency and security to build trust with your guests and prove that the FaceID system uses their data to provide real value and more safe and frictionless experience during their stay at your hotel.
Implementing facial recognition technology in your hotel can make you a leader in technological innovation in your industry. But being perceived as an innovator shouldn’t be a goal by itself. As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, you need to understand how you can best leverage this technology to improve your operations and enhance guest experience in a meaningful way.